Wheels and Tires
The earliest tires were made of rubber and were solid, as opposed to the pneumatic tires that we are all familiar with and enjoy today. When riding a bike or driving a car with bald tires, you can picture the type of shaky ride you’d be in for! Bottoms are hurting everywhere!
We’re thankful for that, and we’re also grateful to Mr R W Thomson, the jolly lovely person and all-around nice guy who created (and patented) the first air-filled tire back in 1856.
It was actually better than the later modifications because the original design had a number of inner tubes that held air, each of which was surrounded by an outer, LEATHER sleeve, and it would have taken a very bad blowout to blow out all of the inner tubes at the same time, as opposed to the later modifications, which had a single outer, LEATHER sleeve.
After that, in 1888, a man by the name of John Boyd DUNLOP (now there’s a name that sounds familiar) came up with the idea of using pneumatic RUBBER tires to transport goods. Despite their obvious advantages, the old sold rubber tires were nevertheless in use for a long period of time. Mr. Dunlop launched his first advertising campaign for his pneumatic rubber tire in December 1888. However, it was many months later, in May 1889, when a bicycle with pneumatic rubber tires won the Belfast (Ireland) Cycle Race, which was the first of its kind. As a result, after a long period of time, the general public has finally begun to recognize the new idea.
There were certain disadvantages to this early pneumatic rubber tire, one of which was that it was bonded to the wheel rim, making it almost hard for anybody to get to the air-carrying inner tube without destroying the tire. However, this will not be the case for long. Mr. CK Welsh came up with a modified design in 1890, which included the inclusion of the upturned rim in the wheel, as well as the idea of the overlapping tire, which was patented.
The next breakthroughs in tire technology and design took a little longer to arrive, but in 1948, Michelin introduced the radial tread tire, which was followed by another breakthrough (again a few years later) in 1972, when Dunlop eliminated the need for an inner tube in automobile tires, making them obsolete. So there you have it: the precursor of the tires we are familiar with today.
Time has progressed, and innovations in both wheel and tire technology have resulted in significant advancements, ranging from reasonably safe Formula One fast motor racing to the enormous gigantic wheels and tires used by some of the world’s largest earth diggers and other heavy equipment.
Tires are still there, providing us with a single point of contact with the road and ensuring our safety and comfort on the road.